Church History Saints Spirituality

Saint Ephrem the Syrian

“He gave us divinity, we gave Him humanity.”

– Saint Ephrem the Syrian
(Hymn on Faith v17)


Teachings / Writings

Over four hundred hymns composed by Ephrem still exist. Granted that some have been lost to us, Ephrem’s productivity is not in doubt. The church historian Sozomen credits Ephrem with having written over three million lines. Ephrem combines in his writing a threefold heritage: he draws on the models and methods of early Rabbinic Judaism, he engages wonderfully with Greek science and philosophy, and he delights in the Mesopotamian/Persian tradition of mystery symbolism.


  • Collections of Hmymns
    • On Faith
    • On Paradise
    • On Virginity
    • Against Heresies
  • Homilies
  • Commentaries
    • Genesis
    • Exodus
    • Acts of the Apostles
    • Pauline Epistles
    • Tatian’s Diatessaron (harmonized Gospel book in Syriac tradition)
  • Refutations
    • Against Bardaisan
    • Against Mani
    • Against Marcion


The keys of doctrine
which unlock all of Scripture’s books,
have opened up before my eyes
the book of creation,
the treasure of house of the Ark,
the crown of the Law.
This is a book which, above its companions,
has in its narrative
made the Creator perceptible
and transmitted His actions;
it has envisioned all His craftsmanship,
made manifest His works of art.

RESPONSE: Blessed is He who through His Cross has flung open Paradise.

– Hymns on Paradise, Hymn VI Stanza 1

Troparion — Tone 8

By a flood of tears you made the desert fertile,
And your longing for God brought forth fruits in abundance.
By the radiance of miracles you illumined the whole universe.
O our holy father Ephraim, pray to Christ our God to save our souls!

Kontakion — Tone 2

O holy father Ephraim,
As you meditated constantly on the final judgment,
You shed abundant tears of sorrow,
Making your struggles examples that we could follow and imitate,
And awakening the slothful to repentance:
You are indeed a father of high renown.

Feast Day(s)

January 28

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